First cloned British dog born

A caterer from West London recently won a £60,000 contest to clone her beloved dachshund, Winnie.

Rebecca Smith, 29, had previously made jokes about cloning her 12-year-old sausage dog companion, but only when she landed the big win did she realise that the idea was going to become a reality.

“Mini Winnie” is the name that was given to the cloned puppy, whose arrival brings hope to other animal lovers who may be interested in the test tube process, which offers the closest thing to pet immortality.

Smith got excited about the idea after reading an article on the subject. When she entered a competition to get her pet cloned, little did she know that she would win. “We sent in videos and it snowballed from there,” said Smith, who made the long journey from Britain to the capital city of South Korea, Seoul, to witness the puppy being born on March 30.

Sooam Biotech is the cloning research foundation that successfully reproduced Mini Winnie. Based in South Korea, the company now hopes that despite the price tag of £60,000, other pet owners who cannot bear the thought of not seeing their four-legged companions again when they pass will consider replication.

The process involved putting cells from the original pooch into eggs from a donor dog of the same breed. A cloned embryo was then created with a spark of electricity, before being put inside a surrogate pooch. Mini Winnie weighed just over one pound, but will not meet with original for some time yet.